Haddrick’s Mill Response – Blue House to Haddrick’s Mill

This is our response to the council plans for Haddrick’s Mill junction on the Northern Access Corridor. The council engagement can be accessed at https://bluehousetohaddricks.commonplace.is/schemes/proposals/haddricks-mill/details and comments are open until 21st August 2016.

It forms part of our detailed response.

Haddrick’s Mill

As we have previously pointed out, Haddrick’s Mill is in a perfect location for reducing through traffic that currently travels across the North of Newcastle. This movement should be facilitated through the primary ring system A1 and A19. Council should be eager to seek to improve the liveability within the North of Newcastle by making positive changes here. Instead life is made worse for residents by seeking to increase the volume of motor traffic travelling through this point. Just like the Blue House junction, the council must go back to the drawing board on the Haddrick’s Mill junction and design it to improve the quality of life and environment in the North of Newcastle (and along the Northern Access Corridor, more generally). Council must design for motor traffic reduction to improve liveability, not induce motor traffic demand.

In addition to our overall issues with the approach the council have taken on the Haddrick’s Mill scheme, there are other issues with the proposal, which we explain in the following.

Lack of cycling infrastructure

Other than Killingworth Road, there is a complete lack of any cycle infrastructure on any of the approach to the junction. As a major crossing point over the Ouseburn for pedestrians and cyclists (although currently suppressed by the horrific existing conditions) Haddrick’s Mill provides links to major employment sites, schools and retail areas. Sufficient cycle and pedestrian space must be provided to ensure that people can access these amenities and venues. Cycling and walking spaces must be delineated clearly from each other to ensure easy and safe use of the junction.

Killingworth Road cycleway connectivity detail missing

A two-way cycleway has been proposed on Killingworth Road, but there is no indication of how wide this will be or how far it will go. There is also no justification of why it has been placed on the East side of the road, where it will not serve the residents who live along this stretch of road, and it will not provide a direct link to Hollywood Avenue. The council need to justify why the link has been provided on the East side of Killingworth Road. And should they decide to keep it on this side of the road, they must provide safe and convenient access to the cycleway for Killingworth Road residents and to and from Hollywood Avenue.

Crossings will be made worse

The images provided as part of the consultation suggest that the crossings around the junction are poor. Yet the council plan on making the crossing worse by removing crossing locations that allow people to scale the entire carriageway in a single phase. This is to be replaced with multi-stage crossings making it more inconvenient to use. This will add significant waiting time to pedestrian and cycle journeys, that leaves people exposed to the dangers of fast and heavy motor traffic and the air and noise pollution this creates. The crossings must also provide clearly separated space for cyclists and pedestrians. The biggest issue with the existing crossings is safety and convenience. Poor layouts encourages drivers to speed through the junction or block the walk/cycle crossing. The crossing need to include detection and recording of traffic situations (which collects data for analysis for further improvements); and designs should be put in place to ensure that drivers use the junction at low speeds and hence able to give necessary attention to the complexity of the location.

The heavily used cycle and pedestrian path along the Coxlodge Waggonway currently runs right up to the junction, where it ends abruptly. There is no indication of how this link will be worked into the new layouts. In addition, the waggonway is not built to a high enough standard, and the council must upgrade the Coxlodge Waggonway to ensure it is safe, easy and convenient to use for both cyclists and pedestrians to minimise conflict between them. This includes making it wide enough to separate cyclists and pedestrians. Delineation may also help to facilitate more convenient and pleasant movements.

No clear function defined for Station Road

Station Road is an area with numerous local shops ideally suited to a much quieter environment where more people walk and cycle. A calmer cleaner environment would also mean people spending time and money in the area. Instead of providing this improvement to the shopping environment, the council have continued to design Station Road as a major through route. (In fact recent works on Church Road/Salters junction with Gosforth High Street push more motor traffic to the narrow Station Road. We think this is unacceptable and a traffic movement plan, if existed and adopted, would have shown this as a flaw.) The council need seriously reconsider how Station Road retail area should function and design accordingly for it – including considering making Station Road access only for private motor traffic or possibly stop through traffic somewhere along Station Road / Church Road. When high volume and speed of motor traffic are reduced it would make this a much more welcoming street to the local customer.

Access to rear of Station Road and Hunters Road is excessive

We can see no reason to include an additional section of carriageway to the West of the shops (marked as new access to Hunters Road), when Hunters Road is readily accessible from the Haddrick’s Mill junction. Also the additional section of carriageway makes little sense when there is existing access just East of it. There is also a right turn pocket on to the proposed new section of carriageway off Station Road, This is also not needed.

The rear of Station Road does not look wide enough for two-way motor traffic, yet elements on the images suggest the intention is to make it two way. This is a back street and its operation should remain local in its use.

Cutting out rat running

We know from speed and volume data that the areas surrounding this junction have major rat-running issues. The council need to tackle these, design them out. This should start by producing a movement plan that clearly indicates how the streets in the surrounding area should function and then design accordingly for this.

South Gosforth and High West Jesmond

For the South Gosforth area, we partly replicate our response for the Jesmond Dene area. We included a map showing how the South Gosforth / High West Jesmond area could be filtered to prevent rat running traffic. Please refer to that Jesmond section for further detailed information and a zoning map.

Hollywood Avenue

North of the junction is Hollywood Avenue, a major rat run between Killingworth Road and the Great North Road. We urge the council to remove this rat run. The bridge over the Ouseburn seems like the most logical place to filter out motor traffic to achieve this. The map below shows the area that should be filtered (green line) to remove rat running from Hollywood Avenue:

Castles Farm Road

Not shown on the images is the plan for Castles Farm Road yet it is important when looking at traffic movements around the area. Castle Farm Road runs over a an old bridge which is structurally weak and has a weight limit on it. It is very narrow. Despite these characteristics, it is used as a rat run. A movement plan would help to assess and contextualise this problem. It is exceedingly clear that there is a merit in closing this route to through motor traffic in both directions. To achieve this we believe filtering out all motor traffic should be banned between Castles Farm Mews and the junction with Matthew Bank would be the best place to achieve this. The image below shows the area that should be filtered (green line) to remove rat running traffic from Castles Farm Road:

Confusing design to the proposed roundabout

On the roundabout design, the section between Benton Park Road and Freeman Road is poorly designed, it is not consistent with the design of the rest of the roundabout and looks like it create significant conflict between different people using this section of the junction to enter Freeman Road.